Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dig if you will a honky

There's so much that's so interesting in this story about John Roberts, Ronald Reagan, and Michael Jackson, particularly for someone who used to work in the White House Correspondence Office. The short version is that, in 1984, Correspondence wanted to write an obsequious letter to Michael Jackson from the president, recognizing the former's philanthropic activities. But then John Roberts, associate White House counsel, protested, saying the president shouldn't be involved in helping a commercial effort:
The Office of Presidential Correspondence is not yet an adjunct of Michael Jackson’s PR firm.
In hindsight, I think Roberts was absolutely right, although I would have been quite tempted to write the letter at the time. But then Roberts shows just how square he is:
In today’s Post there were already reports that some youngsters were turning away from Mr. Jackson in favor of a newcomer who goes by the name “Prince,” and is apparently planning a Washington concert. Will he receive a Presidential letter? How will we decide which performers do and which do not?
Roberts was 29 when he wrote this. Prince had released "1999" and "Little Red Corvette" two years earlier. Is it possible that Roberts had never heard this music? What was he listening to? The mind reels.

Then Roberts piles it on:
Why, for example, was no letter sent to Mr. Bruce Springsteen, whose patriotic tour recently visited the area?
Sigh. Again, someone who obviously never listened to the lyrics.


Josh Putnam said...

What 29 year old says youngsters? That one kills me.

dmarks said...

Those young whipper-snappers these days.